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Coronavirus: advice from the Middle Ages for how to cope with self-isolation

Like many people, I curate my social media posts. After a month of coronavirus lockdown, I’ve been curating more than usual. I have spent (many) sleepless nights scrolling through news reports in slack-jawed horror; I’ve (often) felt overwhelmed; I’ve lost my temper at my family (regularly). I haven’t posted about such events because I don’t want to dwell on them (not here, anyway). Of course the consequence of all of…

Journalism, Fake News, and “Clickbait Defamation”

Sometimes when my social media contacts are complaining about “the media,” they are really responding to headlines, which they cite as examples of “fake news.”   Sometimes the headlines they respond to are creative interpretations supplied by a third party with a dog in a particular fight; but other times I can see very clearly that the official headline doesn’t match the story.   I’ve pointed out that, just as…

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

Thoughtful essay from Julio Vincent Gambuto. Get ready, my friends. What is about to be unleashed on American society will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again. It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other, and it will come from the left and from the right. We will do anything, spend anything, believe anything, just…

COVID-19 Cases (Useful Breakdown by Country, State, Population)

A few interesting bits I found interesting to explore: There are two different ways to view the exact same data: The logarithmic scale shows a great comparison of the magnitude of growth between countries, but less of the human impact. The linear scale shows the real human impact — a growth twice the size is twice the number of real people infected. Switch between the two by toggling the scale at the bottom of each…

Disagreement Hierarchy: Arguments, ranked from name-calling to the careful refutation of an opponent’s central point

My weekend coronavirus lockdown project was writing up a new handout devoted to Graham’s “Disagreement Hierarchy” for academic arguments. Does the word “argument” make you think of angry people yelling? This document presents Graham’s “disagreement hierarchy,” which catalogs multiple stages between juvenile name-calling and carefully refuting an error in your opponent’s central point. Siblings might “argue” over who gets the comfy chair. Persuasion in that case might involve out-shouting or…